Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

November 24, 1998

U of G receives up to $6 million to study biotechnology

The Ontario government today announced that it will invest up to $6 million in a new Food System Biotechnology Centre at the University of Guelph.

The funding from the Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology through the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund (ORDCF) will be used to investigate animal genetics, plant genetics and transgenics, and the basic molecular research underlying these areas. With matching funding, the total investment in this centre could reach $18 million.

"The University of Guelph's Food System Biotechnology Centre will be the focal point for molecular biology and biotechnology research relating to the agri-food system," said President Mordechai Rozanski. "This welcome award will allow the University to develop the infrastructure and expertise necessary to maintain a leadership role in the important agri-food sector of the economy. It involves four colleges, 11 departments, and some 70 researchers, truly a cross-disciplinary initiative. It also adds to Guelph's reputation as a centre for the highest-quality research benefitting all Canadians."

With traditional genetics approaches being enhanced by developments in the application of molecular genetic technology, U of G researchers will incorporate recent advances in this field into strategies for developing improved strains of livestock, and the production and evaluation of transgenic plants. "Under the umbrella of the Food Systems Biotechnology Centre, researchers will aim to modify plant metabolism to better produce commercial products for world markets and capture the enormous economic potential of animal biotechnology to help ensure the prosperity of Ontario and Canada in the 21st century," said Vice-President (Research) Larry Milligan. "It will promote collaboration not only across the University community, but also with our public- and private-sector partners. It will help ensure that researchers have the means to carry out the sort of investigative work they have been trained to do." In addition to infrastructure and instrumentation, the funding will bring together key researchers, providing assistance for faculty, post-graduate, graduate and technical staff.

The centre's work will encompass all aspects of the food system, including agriculture, processing, storage, packaging, nutrition, waste management and food safety.

The University of Guelph is a worldwide leader in agriculture and agri-food. Its researchers have developed more than 100 new varieties of field crops, and have a reputation for excellence in animal genetics and breeding.

For media interviews and more information on the Food System Biotechnology Centre, contact three of the lead researchers: Professor Cecil Forsberg, Department of Microbiology, 519-824-4120, Ext. 3433; Professor David Evans, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, 519-824-4120, Ext. 2575; Professor Bryan McKersie, Department of Plant Agriculture, 519-824-4120, Ext. 3570. This news release was prepared by Communications and Public Affairs at 519-824-4120, Ext. 6982. For a full list of partners in the Food System Biotechnology Centre, contact Communications and Public Affairs, Ext. 6982.

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